Bryony Rose Jennings – February 2017

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Bryony’s talk was entitled The Textile Menagerie and she describes herself as a Textile Sculptor and it is an apt description when you see the wonderful textile animals she creates and hear how she does it.

Coming from a family of artists, Bryony was always encouraged to create but her degree in silver jewellery making seems a far cry from the work she does now. Trips to India as a jewellery buyer led to an interest in antique fabrics especially saris and kantha work which Bryony began to collect. A seaside exhibition with a friend resulted in ‘Flossie’ a life size donkey made with old prices of wood for legs and a covering of scraps of old fabrics. Building and improving on this Bryony continued making life sized fabric animals using recycled textiles often furnishing fabrics, especially William Morris designs and velvets.


As mothers often sat their children on the larger figures Bryony realised they had to be strong so she uses cast iron rod, heavy duty sculpture wire and wood for the skeleton which is covered with sheeting and pillow filling is used to form muscle shape. This is then covered with scraps of fabric stitched in place, layering of textiles give the impression of feather on the birds. Duffle coat toggles carved down make a good beak, false eyelashes look very realistic on deer and false fingernails cut into strips make very convincing claws. All Bryony’s figures, ranging from birds, guinea pigs, dogs, pigs and deer are life size and have names usually suggested by the facial expression, tilt of head or attitude.  Hover your mouse pointer over the images below to discover the names of the animals!


Bryony gave workshops in Australia last year and is due to  return there next year and also to New Zealand to give more talks and workshops, she also manages to fit in classes in this country.
Bryony gave us a fascinating and informative talk; it was lovely to see some of her menagerie on screen and meet others in person.
Thank you to Christine Hill for this report and the lovely photos.  Ros

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